Gensler Design Lands First LEED-rated Car Dealership
Project is part of a “holistic” plan to incorporate sustainable practices into all U.S. Toyota dealerships.
Meaghan O'Neill -- Interior Design, 4/26/2007 12:00:00 AM
From the PNC Bank branches designed for the LEED Portfolio Pilot Program to the first LEED-certified data center for Fannie Mae in 2005, Gensler has never another first: A LEED-certified car dealership. Pat Lobb Toyota of McKinney, Texas, which opened in August 2006, was recently awarded a LEED Silver rating.
"Everyone assumed that it would be impossible to design a LEED-certified car dealership,” says Gensler's Rick Ferrara, project director. Multiple functions—such as a retail shopping component, auto shop, and repair center—make it a tricky task. But Ferrara proved “that virtually any type of building has the potential to be sustainable and it doesn't have to cost more.” At five percent of the budget, the green premium has a return on investment period of three to five years, and will contribute to considerable savings over the life of the facility.
Part of the design strategy was to let the building serve as an educational tool for customers and employees. Signage posted throughout demonstrates energy-saving strategies and sustainable features. Tours for other car dealers, architects and contractors, and school groups are also held.
Some of the features that helped the project achieve LEED Silver status include an exterior made of 85 percent recycled aluminum; an entry portal with non-lead glass; a “living” wall of climbing vines that reduces solar gain; and a car wash that recycles nearly 70 percent of waste water and uses ionized water, which eliminates the need for electric blow-dryers. Furthermore, waste oil from the quick lube is used as fuel to heat the shop and vegetable oil is used in place of hydraulic fluid on lifts in the service department. Interior carpet tiles use agricultural waste and recycled automotive glass backing. The designers also implemented salvaged materials, energy-efficient lighting, rainwater and air-conditioning condensation collection (which can generate as much as 24,000 gallons of water per month for landscaping), and a white roof. (See Pat Lobb Toyota’s web site for a video on the dealership's design and construction.)
The dealership is in keeping with the Image USA II program, which Gensler developed with Toyota in 2004 in order “to create a holistic brand experience” across all of its U.S. dealerships and to incorporate sustainable design into new and renovated dealerships.
“People's misperception about green architecture is that we have to compromise on design," says Ferrara. "This project illustrates that good contemporary design can go hand in hand with sustainable design.”